Where to Stay in Malaga- Best Areas

Where to Stay in Malaga for first-time visitors? In this blog, I will help you to find the best areas to stay in Malaga for tourists (include map and video), and the best hotels in Malaga for all budgets.

Founded in 770 BC by Phoenicians, Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. It’s the second-largest city in the Spanish region of Andalusia, the biggest town on the Costa del Sol.

Malaga is one of the top destination in Costa del sol, along with Marbella. This port city has 300 days of sunshine each year. Malaga is one of the world’s oldest wine regions. Known for its blend of beautiful beaches, historic sights, and beautiful scenery, Malaga has something for everyone.

Malaga airport (Costa del Sol airport) is the main international airport serving the Costa del Sol. It is the fourth busiest airport in Spain, after Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca.

Where to stay in Malaga?

The best areas to stay in Malaga for tourists are Malaga Old Town, Calle Larios, Maria Zambrano, Soho, La Malagueta, Pedregalejo, and El Palo. These neighborhoods are very popular and safe for tourists that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities.

In general, Malaga Old Town is the best area for first-time visitors due to its authentic atmosphere, wide range of accommodations for all budgets, and proximity to major landmarks. It offers easy access to many sights, restaurants, bars, and shops.

đź’– Best Area for first-timers:Centro (Downtown Malaga, Old City)
đź’Ž Best luxury hotel:Gran Hotel Miramar GL 
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Ilunion Málaga
đź’° Best budget hotel:Casa de la Merced Suites 

Map of areas and towns in Malaga:

Where to Stay in Malaga Map of Best Areas
Where to Stay in Malaga Map of Best Areas

Best areas to stay in Malaga for tourists are:

1. Malaga Old Town

Old Town

Malaga Old Town is the best place to stay in Malaga for first-time travelers because it is the heart of the city and it offers a wide variety of tourist amenities and attractions. It home to many stunning historic sights, vibrant clubs, bars, restaurants, wineries and microbreweries.

Old Town is the location of the renowned Art Mile contains the Picasso Museum, the Carmen Thyssen Museum, and the Centre Pompidou.

The Old Town is compact and walkable. You can easily explore on foot, without the need of taxis or cars. Many popular tourist attractions are located within walking distance from one to another.

You can use Malaga Metro to travel around. There are 2 metro lines with line 1 from Andalucia Tech, line 2 from Sports Stadium, both end at the mainline train station, El Perchel.

If you take a stroll along the Centro Historico’s narrow cobbled streets and small squares, you will feel a Moorish air of its historic Mozarabic buildings, museums, art deco palaces, baroque churches, Roman and Phoenician ruins.

At the heart of the historic center stands the Constitution Square (Plaza de la Constitución) that is surrouned by bars, cafés, restaurants, tapas with lively terraces.

The square also hosts some events during the year and is decorated with the main city Christmas tree on Christmas eve and New year’s eve. There is beautiful GĂ©nova fountain at the middle of the square.

In addition to plaza de la Constitución, the Old Town is also home to la Plaza de la Merced (Merced square), which is known as the birthplace of Picasso. Nearby, you will find the Cervantes Theatre, and the venue of the Málaga film festival.

To the south of Merced square, you can find Plaza de la JuderĂ­a (Jewish Square) and a bit further lies the Plaza del Obispo, home to a fountain and the Episcopal Palace (Palacio Episcopal). Be aware of street sellers and beggars around this area and take care of your belongings.

If you want to have the feel of the Pheonicians, Romans and Arabs period, head to visit the La Alcazaba, Gibralfaro castle, and Roman Theatre:

  • La Alcazab, the 11th century old fortress, on the slopes of the Gibralfaro hill, built under the Muslim Al Andalus’ rule, similar structure to Alhambra complex in Granada.
  • The Gibralfaro castle, on the top of the Gibralfaro hill, offerring stunning views of Mediterranean ocean.
  • the Roman theatre (Teatro Romano de Málaga), at the foot of Gibralfaro hill, built in Emperor Augustus period, on the top the Roman baths. It was used as a theatre from the 1st century BC in Roman period until the city was conquered by the Muslims.

One of the must see landmarks in Malaga’s historic center is the Cathedral of Malaga (Catedral de la EncarnaciĂłn), which was built on the former mosque’s site, under the order of Catholic Monarchs. Build between the 16th and 17th centuries, its interior has Renaissance and baroque styles.

There are numerous of museums to see for history lovers and art enthusiasts. The Museo Picasso Málaga is a must visit place to learn more about Picasso’s work and life Museo de Málaga.

Other interesting museums in Malaga Old Town are the Museo Carmen Thyssen, Centre Pompidou, Museo Ruso and Museo AutomovilĂ­stico, and CAC Malaga modern art museum.

If you love shopping, you must go to the Calle Marqués de Larios, the famous shopping street, lined with many cafes, restaurants, pubs, tapas bars, boutiques, and souvenir shops.

At the end of the road, you can find the Marquis de Larios monument, Plaza de La Marina, and Malaga’s port with its Muelle Uno (Malaga Marina) where you can try a Malagan coffee and San Miguel beer.

Another beautiful street in the historic center is the Calle Puerta del Mar, running parralel with Calle Marqués de Larios. Nearby you can view the Church of Saint John the Baptist, which was one of the four churches founded by after conquest of the city by the Catholic Monarchs.

For local market experience, head to Mercado Atarazanas, a local food market, located in a 19th-century wrought iron and glass building with Neo-Mudejar style where you can try some tapas and fresh pescaĂ­to.

Old Town is where you can find some of the city’s best restaurants and tapas bars. Some popular places to dine in are the traditional El Refectorium Catedral and the Los Patios de Beatas wine bar & restaurant near Plaza Uncibay.

If you are tired from sightseeing, shopping, and dining, you can take a break at the popular Parque de Málaga park (Alameda Park), running along Paseo del Parque, from Plaza del General Torrijos to Plaza de la Marina.

Covering an area of 97,500 square feet, the park has tropical species, kiosks, fountains, numerous statues of famous local people such as statues of Ferrándiz, Rubén Darío, Salvador Rueda, and Narciso Díaz de Escovar.

Downtown Malaga is where you can find one of the most famous beaches in the region, Playa La Malagueta. Being located right in the center of Malaga and being near numerous amenities such as bars and shops, this is a beautiful and convenient beach for all to enjoy and relax.

Don’t forget to check out El Palo, just a few minutes’ drive by car from Centro Málaga to the east. This area has beautiful beaches, a great place for the family to relax, swim or just wander around the promenade.

If you are tired of sightseeing and shopping, you can take a break at the Arab Baths Hammam Al Andalus. It is a traditional hammam bath, where you can relax with rituals and massages.

The accommodation also varies from great value, boutique hotels to high-end luxury hotels so there is something to fit all budgets.

Best Places to Stay in Málaga Old Town for first-timers:

🔍MORE HOTELS IN CENTRO

2. Calle Larios

Calle Marqués de Larios

Calle MarquĂ©s de Larios is Malaga’s Fifth Avenue, and one of the most modern parts of Downtown Malaga. It is a famous pedestrianized main shopping street and is a shoppers paradise.

Calle Larios is also one of the most expensive streets in Spain, spanning from Plaza de la ConstituciĂłn to the Parque de la Alameda and the city’s port.

Calle Larios is named after the Larios family. At the end of the street between the intersection between Alameda Principal and Calle Larios, you will find the Monumento Marqués De Larios, which is a monument dedicated to Manuel Domingo Larios y Larios.

A busy tourist area is filled with amenities like bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and shops. This provides ample choice, although does come at a slightly higher price.

Calle Larios has plenty of clothing stores ranging from budget to high street brands like Mango, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, as well as Zara on Calle Liborio García and H&M in Plaza Félix Sáenz nearby.

The collection of bars and pubs in the area helps to create one of the most vibrant nightlife scenes in the city. This has made it popular with younger visitors, who often seek out a vibrant, party atmosphere to enjoy during their vacation.

Calle Larios also has the benefit of being located near the stunning harbor. This not only allows it to offer incredible views of the ocean and boats bobbing around in the water, but it also makes it ideal for anyone planning to take a cruise or stop off while already on one.

As one of the most popular streets in Malaga city center, Calle Larios and its surroundings have plenty of accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury choices.

Best places to stay in Malaga in Calle Larios:

🔍MORE HOTELS IN CALLE LARIOS

See more: 20 Best things to do in Malaga, Spain

3. Maria Zambrano

 Maria Zambrano train station

Maria Zambrano Station is the transportation hub of Malaga, located on Explanada de la EstaciĂłn in the city center, close to the Old Town and the harbor, as well as 9 km from Malaga Airport. It’s named after a famous Spanish philosopher.

The busiest rail terminal in Malaga is ideal for anyone coming to or leaving the city by train. It is connected with Spanish and French cities by high-speed long-distance AVE trains, and Renfe trains to the Andalucia region. You can easily travel to CĂłrdoba, Madrid and Barcelona.

The Bus Station next to the train station also offers a wide range of connections throught out the province.

An incredibly busy area, it isn’t a good choice for anyone looking for a quiet getaway. However, an abundance of shopping and dining options adds to its convenience. Vialia Shopping Centre is integrated into the station with many shops, restaurants and cafés, cinemas, and a hotel.

You can also do shopping at the nearby Centro Comercial Larios Centro, one of the city’s best mall. It has a collection of stores and boutiques where you can purchase clothes, shoes, household items, daily products, and souvenirs for your friends and families.

The neighborhood around the train station has numerous parks and green spaces. Jardines Picasso is a beautiful park, home to a sculpture of Pablo Picasso, children playgrounds, and many trees;

There is also Parque de Huelin, an amazing riverfront park with playground for kids, and areas for picnics. You can also take a look at the neary Playa de Huelin and Playa de Huelin.

Despite being so popular, it also features very affordable prices, making it a good choice for those traveling on a budget. You can find all kind of accomodations from budget guest houses to 3-star and 4-star hotels around the train station.

Best places to stay near Malaga Train Station:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN MALAGA TRAIN STATION

4. Soho

Soho, the art district,

Soho is the Art District and one of the hippest, trendiest areas in Malaga, located near the heart of the city. It is the cool neighborhood and is famous for its urban art and underground culture.

Sandwiched between Alameda Principal, Muelle Heredia, Guadalmedina river, and Plaza de la Marina, Soho is a very well-connected area, close to the MarĂ­a Zambrano Station and the intercity bus station.

The Malaga Arte Urbano Soho project (MAUS) has turned the neighborhood into an area perfect for art fans. Vibrant street art lines every road, with different artists such as Obey, Faith 47, Sal East, ROA or D’Face in many places, leading to an eclectic mix of styles and colors.

Street performers and food vendors further the bohemian atmosphere, helping you to embrace the unique cuisine, culture, and talents of the area. Soho is also known for its skateboarding spot. The dry Guadalmedina riverbed is a famous skatepark spot for young people practicing their skills!

Apart from the graffiti and skateboarding spot, you can visit Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), and if you have a chance, visit Made in Soho Market every first Saturday of each month.

If you want to take break from art and culture, check out some of its modern tapas bars, beer house and brewery. Or if you want to see a play, head to Teatro Soho Caixa Bank (Soho Theatre), formerly known as Teatro Alameda, Málaga’s main theatres.

The area was allowed to develop its style as it had become a little more run-down than the rest of the city. This means you will find much fewer visitors, helping you have a quieter break, as well as a number of cheap boutique hotels and hostels, ideal for those traveling on a budget.

Best places to stay in Malaga in Soho for first-time visitors:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN SOHO

5. La Malagueta

La Malagueta, best area to stay in Malaga near the beach

La Malagueta Beach is located between the Port of Málaga and La Caleta beach, next to the Muelle Uno del Puerto. It is a quiet, residential, beachfront neighborhood. It is a great place to stay in the capital of Costa del Sol for the urban beach.

This beach gets its name from the La Malagueta neighborhood. In the 19th-century it was dominated by sugar factories and warehouses, then the Hospital Noble and the Plaza de Toros, and many skyscrapers were built at the beginning of the 20th century.

With everything catering largely to locals, it means you can experience some fabulous traditional cuisines and wares, for a much more reasonable price.

The beautiful Blue Flag beach offers a peaceful atmosphere, perfect for days relaxing on the sand, topping up your tan, or having fun in the water. This 1,200 meters long and 45 meters wide beach has dark sand, and a palm tree-lined seafront promenade.

There are also beach facilities like sunbeds, beach umbrellas, hammocks, parasols, sailing equipment, a children’s playground. The Real Club Mediterráneo de Málaga, Spain’s oldest yacht club, is located next to the beach.

Meanwhile, there are also a few authentic Malagan sights you can see, such as a bullfighting ring, some stunning churches, and the Museum of the Heritage of Malaga which has more than 4,000 pieces of artifacts, documents, artworks, paintings, and sculptures.

You can take a stroll along Paseo de Reding, a popular street in the area where you can find many iconic buildings like the neo-Mudéjar style of La Malagueta Bullring, Desfile del Amor Building, and the Parisian-style Palacio de la Tinta.

La Malagueta has many quality restaurants. You can try Castilian food at Miguel Restaurante, traditional Andalusian food at Merendero de Antonio Martín, or fine dining at Restaurante José Carlos García on Muelle Uno.

There are also many coffee shops around the area of Muelle Uno and Muelle Dos with the view of the port, as well as the area around Pompidou Centre for more relax vibe.

La Malagueta is also a convenient location for attractions like Muelle Uno, Paseo del Parque, the neighborhoods of Pedregalejo, and El Palo.

Due to its central location, close to the beach and the centro, La Malagueta has many choices in accommodations including typical hotels, guest houses, and apartments.

Best places to stay in Malaga in La Malagueta for first-timers:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN LA MALAGUETA

6. Pedregalejo

Pedregalejo

Pedregalejo beach, also known as Las Acacias beach, is one of the most popular beaches of Malaga, located between the Baños del Carmen and El Palo Beach, 5 km from Malaga’s center.

Pedregalejo beach has relaxed vibes, it can be busy during the summer months but not too crowded like with urban beaches of La Malagueta.

The beach has 1,200 m long and 20 m wide. The beach is very calm water for swimming, as it has 6 manmade coves. This is a well-organise beach with lifeguards, showers, sunbeds, and umbrellas for rent.

A village centered around the beach is a charming fishing village; you will find a quiet community containing some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. You must try fresh grilling espetos (sardines) that are cooked on little boat-shaped BBQs right on the beach!

You may even have the chance to book a tour out on one of the many traditional wooden fishing boats if you are lucky.

Combined with beautiful beaches and a small collection of beach bars with a traditional atmosphere, it is the perfect spot for anyone seeking an authentic Spanish break.

As everything is geared towards locals, it even offers reasonable prices, so won’t pose a problem for those on a budget. Accommodations here are apartments, guest houses, villas, and beach houses.

Best places to stay in Malaga in Pedregalejo for first-time tourists:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN PEDREGALEJO

7. El Palo

El paolo

El Palo is a traditional fishing neighborhood, located between the Pedregalejo and El Chanquete beaches, around 7 kilometers from the city center. Playas del Palo is one of the best beaches on the Costa del Sol.

This Blue Flag beach is a sandy beach with shallow waters and an extensive palm grove, great for families. The beach is 1200 m long and 25 m wide. There is also a range of amenities.

An almost completely residential area, it is a great choice for anyone looking for an authentic experience. Beach Bars, shops, and restaurants are all geared towards the local population. 

This not only means you’ll see the true flavor of the local cuisine, but you’ll pay a lot less for it as well. Known for its fabulous beach and fishing community, you can relax on the sand, enjoying ocean views and fresh seafood in peace.

You must try the pescaito frito (fried fish), a skewer of sardines, and El Tintero which is one of the most unique bars in Spain.

Offering great value and a slower pace makes El Palo ideal for those traveling as a family, especially if you have small children. Small, family-run hotels and guest houses let you completely relax, without being surrounded by mobs of tourists.

If you have a chance, you can take part in the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel festival in July. Enjoy traditional religious procession, concerts, and flea markets, as well as get to know more about local history and culture.

El Palo is located at the base of Mount San AntĂłn, which is a great departure point to explore the hill. Along the way, you will be be rewarded with stunning views of the city.

Best places to stay in Malaga in El Palo for first-timers:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN EL PALO

Check out my virtual tour of Malaga in this video, or continue reading:

8. Ciudad Jardin

Ciudad Jardin, known as Garden City in Spanish, is Malaga’s most northernly region. Much more detached from the heart of the city, this mountainous region is more suited for those who want to explore or experience some of the island’s rural culture.

Being the home to both the Historic Botanical Garden Of La Conception and the Montes De Malaga National Park, those looking to see the natural beauty of the area and how it has evolved throughout the years will have plenty to keep them enthralled throughout their stay.

Its more remote and expansive location make a car a necessity for a trip here but that also makes it a much quieter, less touristy vacation where you can explore the scenery without worrying about crowds.

The accommodation is more expensive here, as it often is in more traditional areas and there is also less of it so make sure to book in advance if this sounds like the trip for you.

Stay in Ciudad Jardin if you like nature; you have a car; you aren’t bothered by traditional tourist amenities, you like to explore.

Best places to stay in Málaga in Ciudad Jardin:

9. Campanillas

Similar in ways to Ciudad Jardin, Campanillas is another less built-up area where the focus is on exploration and nature.

However, the big selling points here are more the man-made variety. Sights such as the historic Castillo De Cartama, a beautiful old church, and castle, sit high up in the hills while La Casa De Ingeniero, a picturesque house owned by the king of Spain, lies by a stunning lake.

Both of these sites, as well as many other smaller attractions and villages, are dotted around the region, making it a perfect place for those looking to experience some scenic hiking trails.

Again, much like Ciudad Jardin, the accommodation options are a little more expensive here than in the city and are also extremely limited so be sure to make your reservations early.

Best places to stay in Málaga in Campanillas:

10. Palma-Palmilla

The region of Palma-Palmilla (District 5) runs up the entire western border of Ciudad Jardin and meets Centro at its north-western point.

This is a region that provides a nice combination of rural beauty with city convenience. Its attractions range from the stunning views of Monte Coronado to the beautifully designed Estadio La Rosaleda, home to the Malaga football team.

Whether you want to be on the fringes of the city or more out in the country, this is a region that will have options to suit you regardless.

Much like the region as a whole, its accommodation is just as diverse so whether you want a low budget or high end, Palma-Palmilla should have you covered.

11. Cruz De Humilladero

The region of Cruz De Humilladero (Spanish for shrine’s cross) is located on the western border of Centro. This is the region perfectly designed for tourists that want to be near to the city but not stuck within its confines.

Cruz del Humilladero is the most representative monument. It has historical significance for the Crown Prince Don Fernando of Antequera’s oath.

It has incredible transport links including Malaga’s main train station, the Maria Zambrano, to make getting anywhere from the city to beaches or the airport a breeze.

It also features a number of international stores, such as Lidl and Primark, to make tourists feel right at home on their travels.

As we’re back near the city, the prices are again very wide-ranging so if the convenient hub location sounds just right for you then you don’t need to be worrying about price.

Best places to stay in Malaga in Cruz De Humilladero:

12. Carretera De Cadiz

Located directly southwest of Centro, Carretera De Cadiz or district 7, features a lot of similar aspects to its neighbor. Comparable in both size and population, it’s the fact that it’s a little less of a tourist hotspot that might be a selling point for many. 

It has all the same attractions like historic sights, a beautiful beach, and ample bars and restaurants to keep you well-fed and entertained of an evening, however with fewer tourists buzzing around you can enjoy what it has to offer more at your own pace.

Its location next to Málaga Centro also makes it an easy trip in if you do want a busier day on occasion. Accommodation is also priced on a wide scale so this again is an area that anyone can afford to stay.

Best Places to Stay in Carretera De Cadiz:

13. Churriana

Churriana is the most south-western district in Malaga. Located next to Guadalhorce valley, Churriana encompasses Malaga airport, the Sierra de Churriana hills, the beach, and the coastal area of Guadalmar.

You can visit the 19th century La Consula mansion with its beautiful grounds, the 17th-century Jardin del Retiro botanical. There is also the museum and research center Casa de Gerald Brenan which is the former house of Anglo-Irish writer Gerald Brenan.

If you visit at the right time, you can have a chance to take part in local events such as Viernes Dolores (Good Friday) of Holy Week, the Fiesta of the town’s patron saint, San Isidro in May, and the Virgen del Carmen in July.

This is where things start to get a little less built up. While still on the edges of the city it is by no means undeveloped, however, being a little more out into the country provides a more relaxed feeling.

Featuring the best collection of beaches in Malaga, Churriana is the place to go if you’re looking for a traditional, laid-back beach vacation with the option to venture into a historic city close by if you so choose.

Again, the variety of accommodation is quite vast, from budget motels at the Malaga airport to a lush golf resort, so they have you covered whatever you’re looking for.

Best Places to Stay in Málaga in Churriana:

Where should I stay in Málaga for the first time?

Malaga Old Town is the best area to stay in Malaga for first-timers due to its prime location. If you stay here, you will be located within easy access to popular tourist attractions, as well as many choices in accommodations, restaurants, bars, and shops.

What are the best areas to stay in Málaga?

Malaga Old Town, Calle Larios, Maria Zambrano, Soho, La Malagueta, Pedregalejo, and El Palo are some of the best areas to stay in Malaga because they are the most popular neighborhoods in the city for tourists with a variety range of attractions and amenities.

Read more about Spain travel:

In conclusion, Old Town, Calle Larios, Maria Zambrano, Soho, La Malagueta, Pedregalejo, and El Palo are the best places to stay in Malaga for tourists. They provides safe central locations with a wide range of accommodation options for all budget travelers.

Overall, I recommend Old Town as the best area in Malaga for first-timers due to its super central location and wide range of tourist attractions and amenities. Its location offers easy access to famous tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, and shops.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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